Please ignore everything you’re doing at the moment, let the books on your side table gather dust and instead read Mirza Waheed’s novel The Collaborator. Waheed’s brilliant debut novel is not just a fictional tale of a boy who lives in Kashmir, and the death of his childhood, the disappearance of his friends, or the end of life as he knows it; it is a heartbreaking tale of the death of Kashmir. Reading The Collaborator has been one of the most painful experiences of my life. With every chapter, I’d have to stop and take a break, because I couldn’t take the grief anymore that hits the reader with every word of this book. At the risk of sounding like a wimp, I cried buckets of tears when I finished reading the novel, tears shed not just for the characters, albeit fictional, but for the generations of Kashmiris that have lived through decades of violence, with no end in sight.